Experimental Discovery of New Inorganic Materials for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Applications


The discovery of new inorganic materials is necessary to advance sustainable technologies, such as fuel cells which provide alternative routes to energy production that are critical for modern society to achieve net zero. This PhD project is experimental-based and an exciting opportunity to explore the synthesis and detailed characterisation of new oxide materials for solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) applications. The project will combine synthetic solid-state chemistry, advanced structural analysis and measurement of physical and electrocatalytic properties, enabling the successful candidate to develop a diverse experimental skillset. The focus will be on the combination of extended and local structural bonding types to yield new material structures with enhanced performance as mixed ionic and electronic conductors. The student will participate in the selection of synthetic targets in a process that uses computational methods together with chemical understanding.

The project is based in the Materials Innovation Factory (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/materials-innovation-factory/) at the University of Liverpool. The position is part of a multi-disciplinary EPSRC Programme Grant: “Digital Navigation of Chemical Space for Function” that seeks to develop a new approach to materials design and discovery, exploiting machine learning and symbolic artificial intelligence, demonstrated by the realisation of new functional inorganic materials.

As well as obtaining knowledge and experience in materials synthesis, crystallography and measurement techniques, the student will develop skills in teamwork and scientific communication, as computational and experimental researchers within the team work closely together. There are extensive opportunities to use synchrotron X-ray and neutron scattering facilities.

Applications are welcomed from students with a 2:1 or higher master’s degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, or Materials Science, particularly those with some of the skills directly relevant to the project outlined above. Experience in structural characterisation of inorganic materials or electron microscopy is an advantage.



Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Funded studentship

The funding for this position may be a University of Liverpool School Funded Studentship (SFS) or an EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) studentship. The eligibility details of both are below.

EPSRC eligibility

Applications from candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome – please refer to the EPSRC website http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/eligibility/.

If this studentship is funded by the EPSRC DTP scheme and is offered for 3.5 years in total. It provides full tuition fees and a stipend of approx. £17,668 (this is the rate from 01/10/2022) full time tax free per year for living costs. The stipend costs quoted are for students starting from 1st October 2022 and will rise slightly each year with inflation.

The funding for this studentship also comes with a budget for research and training expenses of £1000 per year, and for those that are eligible, a disabled students allowance to cover the costs of any additional support that is required.

Due to a change in UKRI policy, this is now available for Home, EU or international students to apply. However, please be aware there is a limit on the number of international students we can appoint to these studentships per year.




  • Hu, K.Dawson, M. Zanella, TD. Manning, LM. Daniels, ND. Browning, BL. Mehdi, Y, Xu, H. Amari, JF. Shin, MJ. Pitcher, R. Chen, H. Niu, B. Liu, M. Bilton, J. Kim, JB. Claridge, MJ. and Rosseinsky, (2022) Enhanced Long-Term Cathode Stability by Tuning Interfacial Nanocomposite for Intermediate Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.Adv. Mater Interfaces, 9 (14) 2102131.


  1. Hu, J.Kim, H. Niu, LM. Daniels, TD. Manning, R. Chen, B. Liu, R. Feetham, JB. Claridge, and MJ. Rosseinsky, (2022) High-performance protonic ceramic fuel cell cathode using protophilic mixed ion and electron conducting material.J. Mater. Chem. A, 10 (5). 2559 - 2566.

AJ. Perez, A. Vasylenko, TW. Surta, H. Niu, LM. Daniels, LJ. Hardwick, MS. Dyer, JB. Claridge, MJ. Rosseinsky, (2021), Ordered Oxygen Vacancies in the Lithium-Rich Oxide Li4CuSbO5.5, a Triclinic Structure Type Derived from the Cubic Rocksalt Structure, Inorg. Chem., 60 (24), 19022-19034

J. Gamon, MS. Dyer, BB. Duff, A. Vasylenko, LM. Daniels, M. Zanella, MW. Gaultois, F. Blanc, JB. Claridge, and MJ. Rosseinsky, (2021) Li4.3AlS3.3Cl0.7: A Sulfide–Chloride Lithium Ion Conductor with Highly Disordered Structure and Increased Conductivity, Chem. Mater., 33 (22), 8733-8744

G. Han, A. Vasylenko, AR. Neale, BB. Duff, R. Chen, MS. Dyer, Y. Dang, LM. Daniels, M. Zanella, CM. Robertson, LJ. Kershaw-Cook, A-L. Hansen, M. Knapp, LJ. Hardwick, F. Blanc, JB. Claridge, and MJ. Rosseinsky (2021), Extended Condensed Ultraphosphate Frameworks with Monovalent Ions Combine Lithium Mobility with High Computed Electrochemical Stability, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 143 (43), 18216–18232.

A. Vasylenko, J. Gamon, BB. Duff, VV. Gusev, LM. Daniels, M. Zanella, JF. Shin, PM. Sharp, A. Morscher, R. Chen, AR. Neale, LJ. Hardwick, JB. Claridge, F. Blanc, MW. Gaultois, MS. Dyer, and MJ. Rosseinsky (2021), Element selection for crystalline inorganic solid discovery guided by unsupervised machine learning of experimentally explored chemistry, Nat. Commun., 12, 5561

CM. Collins, LM. Daniels, Q. Gibson, MW. Gaultois, M. Moran, R. Feetham, MJ. Pitcher, MS. Dyer, C. Delacotte, M. Zanella, CA. Murray, G. Glodan, O. Perez, D. Pelloquin, TD. Manning, J. Alaria, GR. Darling, JB. Claridge, MJ. Rosseinsky, (2021) Discovery of a Low Thermal Conductivity Oxide Guided by Probe Structure Prediction and Machine Learning. Angew. Chem.-Int. Ed. 60, 2–11

M. Li, H. Niu, J. Druce, H. Tellez, T. Ishihara, JA. Kilner, H. Gasparyan, MJ. Pitcher, W. Xu, JF. Shin, LM. Daniels, LAH. Jones, VR. Dhanak, D. Hu, M. Zanella, JB. Claridge and MJ. Rosseinsky, (2020) A CO2-Tolerant Perovskite Oxide with High Oxide Ion and Electronic Conductivity. Adv. Mater., 32 (4), 1905200

LM. Daniels, SN. Savvin, MJ. Pitcher, MS. Dyer, JB. Claridge, S. Ling, B. Slater, F. Corà, J. Alaria and MJ. Rosseinsky (2017) Phonon-glass electron-crystal behaviour by A site disorder in n-type thermoelectric oxides, Energy Environ. Sci., 10 (9) 1917-1922.

JF. Shin, W. Xu, M. Zanella, K. Dawson, SN. Savvin, JB. Claridge and MJ. Rosseinsky (2017) Self-assembled dynamic perovskite composite cathodes for intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells. Nature Energy, 2(3) 16214